Tom Sykes scored a well deserved podium second place today for Rizla Suzuki during the Brands Hatch GP round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.
In the opening race, starting from fourth place on the front row of the grid at the 2.3-mile long Kent circuit, Tom battled with Ducati's Shane Byrne, eventually finishing a close runner-up. He was in second position again in race two with only a handful of laps to go, when he crashed out unscathed due to a mechanical issue. The race was won by Cal Crutchlow.
Rizla Suzuki's Atsushi Watanabe took a determined 12th place finish in race one at the Kent track, as the two times Japanese Champion continues to find his feet in the highly competitive British Superbike Championship. His second race ended early when he was forced to retire.
The fourth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship will take place at Donington Park on Monday, 26th May.
"The podium in race one has been a long time coming. My Rizla Suzuki technicians worked really hard and I'm pleased I was able to repay them with some champagne. As for race two, it was just unfortunate as I had the pace to win but crashed out due to a mechanical failure. I don't want to dwell on the incident as we have had a lot of positives this weekend. I just want to get on my Rizla Suzuki at Donington Park and finish both races on the podium. I know we are capable of that."
"It has been a difficult weekend. I want a better result than 12th place but I am improving all the time and my team is working well. Our next race is at Donington Park which I visited with John Reynolds so I know where the track goes - now all I need to do is be fast."
Jack Valentine, Team Manager Rizla Suzuki:
"I'm thrilled with the podium finish which Tom secured in race one. That is where we want to be, where we feel we should be and in Tom's case, what he deserves. He rode a very mature race and I know there is more to come from him. As for race two, Tom crashed out at high speed due to a mechanical problem, thankfully he walked away unhurt - he'll be back stronger than ever and fighting for podiums.
"Atsu also had a tough weekend but overall he put in a good effort at a challenging circuit. He has already visited Donington Park on a track day and it is more like the circuits he is used to in Japan, so we are hoping for a top 10 result."
Race One results:
1: Shane Byrne (Ducati) 29:24.345
2: TOM SYKES (RIZLA SUZUKI) +1.855
3: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +3.111
4: Leon Haslam (Honda) +3.887
5: Leon Camier (Ducati) +4.996
6: James Ellison (Honda) +15.815
7: Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) +16.645
8: Billy McConnell (Kawasaki) +26.446
9: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +30.384
10: Tristan Palmer (Honda) +33.728
12: ATSUSHI WATANABE (RIZLA SUZUKI) +35.187
Race two results:
1: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 30:31.299
2: Shane Byrne (Ducati) +0.110
3: Leon Camier (Ducati) +0.748
4: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) +2.221
5: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +2.906
6: Leon Haslam (Honda) +3.097
7: Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) +3.121
8: James Ellison (Honda) +4.147
9: Billy McConnell (Kawasaki) +1 lap
10: Scott Smart (Kawasaki) +1 lap
DNF: TOM SYKES (RIZLA SUZUKI)
DNF: ATSUSHI WATANABE (RIZLA SUZUKI)
Championship standings: (after three of 12 rounds)
1: Shane Byrne (Ducati) 140
2: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 96
3: Leon Camier (Ducati) 83
4: James Ellison (Honda) 64
5: Leon Haslam (Honda) 56
6: Michael Rutter (Ducati) 55
7: Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) 52
8: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 52
9: TOM SYKES (RIZLA SUZUKI) 49
10: Tristan Palmer (Honda) 29
15: ATSUSHI WATANABE (RIZLA SUZUKI)